Sun Sick

I’m lying on my stomach in the middle of the back lawn. It’s hot. After about sixty seconds I felt like I needed to be in the shade but I’ve stayed put for at least fifteen minutes now. I keep reading the same sentence of my book over and over because all I can think about is the heat of the sun beating down on my bare back. I keep waiting for the branches of the trees to move a little and send even the tiniest breath of a breeze my way, but they stand there, still, silent and smug. I lie here completely enveloped in light and heat, the sun crawling into my blood. I imagine blisters forming on my skin, which makes my forearm itch. 

I peer over the top of my sunglasses and watch him walk across the garden to the shed. To my delight, since the last time I saw him walk past, he’s decided to take his T-shirt off. He lives next door and they’ve got him round here to do the gardening. Jonny, I think his name is. He emerges from the shed with a pair of gardening shears and begins to trim one of the small trees. I watch the muscles in his back and shoulders ripple beneath his skin as he trims the branches.

I watch him for a long time but only realise I’m staring when he steps back for a moment and glances my way, wiping his brow. I push up my sunglasses, which have slipped right down to the tip of my nose, and return to the single sentence I’ve been studying. I suddenly become aware that I am in shadow. I peer over the top of my book to see a pair of muddy boots.
‘I hope you’re wearing suncream. The sun can be very bad for your skin if you lay there and cook yourself in it like that, you know,’ says Jonny, gardening shears still in hand.
‘Why, are you offering to put some on for me?’ I say.
He says nothing but smiles playfully, then makes his way back across the garden to the shed.

I decide to make him mine by the end of the summer.


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